LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Five high school programs were selected by their peers as the NFCA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year, the Association announced on Friday.
Representing each of the NFCA’s five high school regions, these respective coaching staffs – Morris Catholic High School (N.J.), Keystone High School (Ohio), Southern Alamance High School (N.C.), Papillion-LaVista High School (Neb.) and Shadow Ridge High School (Ariz.) - are now eligible for the NFCA High School National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on August 31.
Regional Winners East – Morris Catholic
Head Coach: Nicholas DeGennaro
Assistant Coaches: Gina Lazaro, Jessica Mucerino
Won the 2021 NJSIAA Non-Public B state championship with a 2-0 win over St. Joseph … It was the school’s first state title since 1986 … Earned league and county titles … Posted a 27-3 record, which is a 20-win improvement from the 2019 season … Finished 2021 ranked seventh in the state.
North – Keystone
Head Coach: Jim Piazza
Assistant Coaches: Doug Cooper, Gina Gibson, Anna Saxton, Rich Marcucci, Chip Motolik, Ann Green
Captured its fifth OHSAA Division II state championship in its sixth straight finals appearance … Finished ninth nationally in the USA Today Sports/NFCA High School Super 25 Poll … No. 1 seed in state tournament and won the title with a 7-3 victory over No. 2 seed Triway … Posted a 33-1 record … During the 2021 campaign, Keystone became the first program in state history to win 1,000 games … Coach Piazza earned his 500th win in 2021 and finished with 514.
South – Southern Alamance
Head Coach: Jon Russell
Assistant Coaches: Gem Burnette, Joe Martin, Amber Palmer, Jay Curtis
Won the NCHSAA 3A state championship, the eighth in program history … After dropping the opening game of the state championship series, the Patriots regrouped and topped Alexander Central 3-0 (no-hitter) and 11-3 to capture the title … Finished 2021 with a 17-4 record.
South Central – Papillion-LaVista
Head Coach: Todd Petersen
Assistant Coaches: Clint Hoelscher, Luke Olson, Jordan Van Roy, Amanda Butera, Kirsten Dargy
Steered program to its second consecutive NSAA Class A state title … Finished 36-0 and No. 1 in the NFCA’S Fall High School Top 25 Coaches Poll … Eight players from the 2020 squad have gone on to play college softball … Under Petersen’s tutelage, Jordyn Bahl was named the first-team NFCA All-American and the National Gatorade Player of the Year.
West – Shadow Ridge
Head Coach: Kortny Hall
Assistant Coaches: Rich Federico, Wendy Dreisbach
First-year coaching staff that inherited a program that graduated 10 seniors … Guided team to a region championship and the AIA state semifinals … As the No. 11 seed, the Stallions won their first-ever state playoff game, a 1-0 victory over Desert Vista and followed with an upset of No. 3 see Queen Creek, 5-3 … Finished 2021 with a 15-7 record and the best finish in school history.